POLL: Is Ilford in Essex or London? History writer probes Redbridge’s dual identity
16:12 06 June 2013
When Greater London was created in 1964, swallowing up swathes of the home counties, few people would have predicted the Essex versus London debate would carry on for nearly 50 years.
But in a post-TOWIE world, the argument in Redbridge is still raging over whether we are in the capital, the county or both.
Andrew Summers has co-authored a book about the history of Ilford, Romford, Dagenham and Newham in the no-man’s land he calls Metropolitan Essex.
The book documents the history of the area from Boudicca to the 2012 Olympics.
Mr Summers, 66, believes the “Essex connection” is stronger further from the centre of the capital.
He said: “Parts of Newham and Waltham Forest were in Essex until the same time but the connection is less there because of the advance of London.
“In Ilford there has been a big change in the population and people move around more.
“If you want to be precise, all Redbridge is in London but for whatever reason people still say Essex.”
Popular culture including television show The Only Way Is Essex may have played a part, Mr Summers said.
Viewers have seen locations in Gants Hill and Ilford though the show and some national news outlets also refer to the area as Essex.
But not everyone enjoys being associated with the of “Essex girl” and boy stereotypes.
Mr Summers, of Hadleigh, said: “People like it because it brings publicity but it’s not necessarily the ‘Essex’ people want to portray.
“I think the label will continue for at least another generation.”
Mr Summers will be signing copies of the book at the Village Bookshop, in High Road, Woodford Green, on June 22.
If you live in Redbridge, answer our poll to let us know what you think.